Currently browsing Posts Tagged “perspective”

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Project Project

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Matt Kohr’s perspective tutorial at (available for $10 in his store) came along at the right time. As I continue to ponder a re-imagined comic strip, I know I want to make my environments less flat and more cinematic, and that’s all about drawing in perspective.

What makes this tutorial stand out is that it focuses on sketching, rather than careful measuring and 100% accuracy. Kohr demonstrates how to quickly create a perspective grid (and even includes some simple but ingenious Photoshop templates), and then use that grid to draw simple shapes and objects in perspective. Following that, he shows you how to add additional elements in perspective using projection. For instance, the crude figures in my scene here are the same height. I drew the guy on the right first, then drew lines in perspective to the outer edge of the sidewalk, then followed the grid to the foreground of the drawing.

If I wanted to put a 3rd dude between them, in roughly the center of the sidewalk, I could do another projection like the one seen in red, then make sure his height matched the height of the plane.

Anyway, Kohr explains it a lot better than I can, but the upshot is that it’s a quick and simple method to achieve believable perspective. For the level of cartooning I’m envisioning, I can use this method to draw some key elements, then freehand/eyeball the rest. I’ll probably buy his follow-up tutorial at some point to see what his approach is.

So What If I’m Playing With Dolls?

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Picked up one o’ them there artists’ mannequins (yeah, they really exist!), and am using it in tandem with my picture frame to study light and perspective.

Sit On It

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Ah, you never know what you’ll find in Mark’s Sketchbook. One day, it’s a naked lady, another day, it’s office furniture. Just a little more pracitce with my gridded picture frame. It really is helping me maintain the proper perspective. Now I just need to acquire more interesting possessions.



From the 3rd Dorkmension

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

Because I’m a giant nerd, I wanted to use my computer to see how close I was with yesterday’s shadow. Using Photoshop’s 3D function (which I’d never actually touched before), I placed a cutout of my character in a 3D scene and put up a light in roughly the same location I’d envisioned yesterday.

So I think I wasn’t too far off, but I was probably silly to try to show any curves in the long shadow; as this example shows, a shadow like that is just sort of compressed into straight lines.

Paging Lamont Cranston

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Toying with a possible comic strip character. Don’t get too smitten; this is the very first rendering of her. By the time I figure everything out, she’s liable to be an old lady, or Chinese, or a talking horse.

I also did this drawing to try out a principle from Andrew Loomis’ “Fun With a Pencil” (a nearly 80-year old book available for free here), which is why she has that big `ol ugly shadow behind her.


In the book, Loomis diagrams how to determine the shadow position by triangulating the direction of light and angle of light.


I decided she’d be standing with a street lamp in front of her; as you can see I even drew the lamp it on a separate sheet of paper!

I’m not entirely certain I got it right; it looks weird. But maybe I just put my light source where no sane artist would.

3D Glasses are Just a Fad

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook

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Didn’t think there were any naked lady pics worth showing this week (sorry fellas…I know that kinda thing is hard to find on the Internet!). However, I got some good feedback on my self-portrait homework. The instructor was happy with it overall, but she noticed that I wasn’t really “wearing” my glasses; they’re basically a 2D shape slapped onto my 3D head. She’s right, of course; I lazily added them as an afterthought after sweating over the rest of the details.

The teacher told me to think of my glasses as “a box around your head.” In other words, if they have no perspective, and aren’t bigger than my head, then I’m doing it wrong.

So anyway, today I practiced drawing my glasses by themselves, and as you can see from my construction lines, I literally started out with a box and went from there. Better, no?

What I’m really starting to understand about drawing, and why it’s so difficult, is that you constantly need to switch between two modes: seeing and constructing.  By that, I mean you have to be able to draw exactly what you see, getting the angles and contours right.  But you also have to understand the internal structure of what you’re drawing–otherwise you might draw one perfect shoulder at a time, but find that one of them’s dislocated when you step back and look at the entire figure.

Conversely, if you spend all your time concentrating on structure, you’ll find that the likeness is off, and you’re drawing mostly from your head instead of what’s in front of you.

I’m sure with enough practice, this juggling act will become more transparent, but for now, it takes more concentration than I’ve mustered up in a long, long time.

The Accordion Blues

Posted by Mark in Mark's Sketchbook


Well, this is a mess, but hey, it’s what I drew this evening. I thought it was a pretty simple vacation picture (upper right), but turns out it was a pop quiz in perspective. Even the accordion twists and turns in several different directions. I’ll probably give this a do-over at some point. Drawn on newsprint with a soft wax crayon.